Northern Child's ARC Blog Day 15 – Susie and Lars

Mixed feelings.
Sitting on Northern Child this Sunday the 6th at noon with only 500 nm to go, you are filled with mixed feelings.
On one hand you feel happy to realize that you actually have a good chance to reach St Lucia safely within a few days time. On the other hand you feel sorry because that means the end of this fantastic adventure.
Up till now this journey across the mighty Atlantic has been blessed with ideal weather, a mature but  fast racing Swan and an incredible crew. The crew members are from Canada, the USA, England, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark, 10 males and one female and have all invested their positive energy to make this trip the sailing experience of their lives. Perhaps differences in age, gender, background and occupation mean that boat handling, steering, cooking, cleaning, bilging, joking, sleeping, exchanging small and big thoughts, music listening and daily dining at the captains table makes it all go up in a perfect symbiosis and therefore new friendships have been created.
A perfect cruise on a first class yacht, although the room service button in my quarters seems to be out of order. However, this gives the unexpected advantage of making this crossover a well deserved REHAB tour. Cheers!
Lars, from Denmark.
 Less than 500 miles to go and the crew are becoming reflective.
Less than 500 miles to go and the crew are becoming reflective.
Less than 500 miles to go and the crew are becoming reflective.
Sailing is a bit like childbirth- after its over you say never again!
Having sailed nearly 9,000 miles last year from Brisbane to Qingdao in the Clipper Round the World Race, I got off the boat and said I would NEVER, EVER get back on a racing boat again. But, here I am again, much to the amazement of friends and family!! However compared to a Clipper boat, Northern Child is the lap of luxury – doors on the “heads” that work rather than curtains, my own bunk with a cupboard, wood finish throughout and  decent frozen meat. The weather has offered perfect sailing conditions – very blustery winds up to 40 knots in the first two days, then a lull, followed by consistent 15-25 knot winds from behind. It almost feels like cheating to have so easy a crossing.
So, why am I here, James the skipper has asked? Well, I’ve never crossed an ocean or experienced the isolation of being 1,500 miles from land, out of range of air sea rescue and out of range of the intrusive mobile phone, emails etc. The vastness and power of the ocean combined with the magic of the stars and moon at night are things you can only experience on this sort of adventure and can’t easily be described. We had a school of dolphins who played in our bow wave for half an hour one evening – magic. We all pooled together to buy a fishing line before we left Las Palmas and the five fish we caught fed us royally for two days.
A common comment from my friends before I left was “Who are you sailing with?” When I said that I really had no idea they were, quite rightly, stupefied!! I was a bit apprehensive as to who my crew mates would be, but thankfully a more delightful and diverse group would be hard to find. I would be happy to sail with them again. As Lars has said, we are a multi national crew and there is a heavy sex bias in favour of the male of the species such that I am the only “girlie”!! Thankfully, I can cope!! As individuals we all have strengths and weaknesses and thankfully in combination, as a team,  it seems to work and we are a happy boat with no conflicts.
So, will I say never again when I get off this boat in St Lucia. Well, I think not. Overall, taking part in the ARC with this bunch of people has been “Bostin” – as we say in the Midlands – so I am already thinking “What next?”

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